Last Friday: DNC’s Secretive & Deeply Cynical ‘Unity’ Commission Further Dividing & Watering Down The Democratic Party…

The Real News (12/8/17) “You look at the big picture and you see that there’s a lot of money that keeps flowing to Clinton-aligned political consultants from the Democratic party, and the majority on this commission clearly does not want to shake up that game, much less end it,” says Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org . Link to 18-Minute Video ***** …24 Hours Later: DNC Unity Commission Agrees On Set Of Historic Reforms (But Will They Survive Or Be Smothered In The Cradle?) By Daniel Marans The HuffPost (12/9/17) WASHINGTON ― At its final meeting on Friday and Saturday, the…


As World Warms, Heart-Breaking Video Shows What It Looks Like When A Polar Bear Starves Due To Climate Crisis

By Julia Connely Common Dreams (12/8/17) A video of a starving polar bear led to calls for climate change denialists to confront the real-world effects of global warming this week. Taken by a Canadian conservationist and photographer and posted to social media, the video offered a stark visual of the drastic impacts of climate change that have already begun taking root. Paul Nicklen was traveling with the conservation group Sea Legacy in Canada’s Baffin Islands, located in the Arctic, when he spotted the emaciated animal struggling to walk across the dry land—historically covered with ice in December and home to…


Russia Monitor: Could Trump Eventually Be Undone By A Gift From Barack Obama?

    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (12/11/17) Dear Fellow Readers, This has been a relatively quiet Trump-Russia news cycle, though there are always new developments. As an example, there is more to the Donnie Jr. June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with indicted former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort,  Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and various Russians. It would take a herculean effort to count the number of times Donnie Jr. has lied about the communications prior to the meeting, who was present at the meeting, what was discussed or what, if anything, happened after the meeting. So it’s no…


Salvadoran Woman Jailed For ‘Abortion’ Pleads For Freedom

TeleSur (12/8/17) Teodora Vasquez is one of 31 women imprisoned in El Salvador for falling foul of anti-abortion laws that are among the six most draconian on the planet. A Salvadoran woman who has been jailed for a decade since her miscarriage was ruled an ‘illegal abortion’ has pleaded for her freedom before a court revising her 30-year prison sentence. “I am paying for a crime I didn’t commit,” Teodora Vasquez, 34, told the tribunal in San Salvador. Since the Constitution came into force in 1999 under the conservative government, abortion in the Central American nation has been illegal, regardless of whether pregnancy results from rape or poses any…


This Is What The United States Has Become: When Immigration Detention Means Losing Your Kids

By Emma Jacobs Morning Edition/NPR (12/8/17) About five million children in the United States have an undocumented parent. These families have always been at risk of separation if the parents are detained, but expanded immigration enforcement actions under the Trump administration may increase that risk. Immigration attorneys are warning that without preventative measures, more children will end up in foster care, and their parents will struggle to regain custody from outside the United States. They point to cases like that of a Guatemalan woman named Maria Luis, who was separated from her children back in 2005. “Daniel knew me but…


The Public Bank Option – Safer, Local & Half The Cost

Note: Phil Murphy, a former banker newly elected as New Jersey Governor, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his platform. With his win on November 7, the nation’s second state-owned bank in a century could follow. By Ellen Brown Web of DebtBlog (11/4/17) A UK study published on October 27, 2017 reported that the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from. According to City A.M. (London) : “More than three-quarters of the MPs surveyed incorrectly believed that only the government has the ability to create new money. . . . “The Bank of England has previously intervened to point…



“The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump”: Psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee On Growing Mental Health Concerns

  Democracy Now! (12/8/17) Questions over President Donald Trump’s mental health continue to grow, following his speech on Wednesday where he slurred his speech and mispronounced words during an address on Israel. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded Thursday to the mounting concerns by announcing that Trump has scheduled a physical health exam. Meanwhile, Pentagon leaders last month told a Senate panel they would ignore any unlawful order by the president to launch a nuclear strike. The testimony came as part of the first congressional hearings in more than 40 years on the president’s authority to start a…


Pandora’s Box: An Ex-CIA Officer Speaks Out About The Explosive & Illegal Italian Rendition Case

“It’s really important that this entire story be told because this case is emblematic of a broader, larger political and policy issues.” – CIA whistleblower Sabrina De Sousa VICE News (11/3/15) Sabrina De Sousa is one of nearly two-dozen CIA officers who was prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced by Italian courts in absentia in 2009 for the role she allegedly played in the rendition of a radical cleric named Abu Omar. It was the first and only criminal prosecution that has ever taken place related to the CIA’s rendition program, which involved more than 100 suspected terrorists and the assistance of…


Since You Can’t Serve Two Masters, Mike Pence Has Chosen His

Will the vice president—and the religious right—be rewarded for their embrace of Donald Trump? By McKay Coppins The Atlantic (January/February 2018) No man can serve two masters, the Bible teaches, but Mike Pence is giving it his all. It’s a sweltering September afternoon in Anderson, Indiana, and the vice president has returned to his home state to deliver the Good News of the Republicans’ recently unveiled tax plan. The visit is a big deal for Anderson, a fading manufacturing hub about 20 miles outside Muncie that hasn’t hosted a sitting president or vice president in 65 years—a fact noted by several…


Trump Gang Reported Considering Plans For Private Domestic & International Spy & Hit Squad Under White House Control

Gestapo: the secret police force of the German Nazi state, notorious for its terrorism, brutality, etc. Collins Dictionary ***** White House Seeking Private Funding For Totally “Off The Books” Secret Spy Group Answerable Only To Trump & CIA Head (Editor’s Note: Like a well-oiled Mafia operation, every autocratic regime depends upon private “off-the-books” intelligence and thuggish enforcement forces to track and eliminate any kind of resistance to authoritarian rule. In Nazi Germany it was the Gestapo. Similar private enforcement units can be found working for authoritarian thugs like Donald Trump around the planet. The stories below should be of concern to every American citizen because,…


Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He Was A Nuclear War Planner, Warns Of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation

  Democracy Now! (12/6/17) Could tension between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bring us to the brink of nuclear war? As tensions ramp up, we discuss what nuclear war would look like with a former nuclear war planner and one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers—Daniel Ellsberg. In 1971, Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications, which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. He played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. Few know Ellsberg was…



The 40th Anniversary Of The Death Of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington Is Time To Reflect On What True Political Reform Looks Like

  By Mark Kastel (12/7/17) Just like Bernie Sanders, at least for me, one of the preeminent and compelling attributes of Harold Washington was — his authenticity. His political speeches reflected his true beliefs. He was a reformer. He took on one of the most powerful political machines in the country, built by Chicago’s Richard J Daley, and beat them at their own game. I worked for Harold in his first campaign. My job, as a surrogate speaker, was to address exclusively black audiences on the city south and west sides. My sidekick, one of my best friends at the…


Russia Monitor: One By One, The Old Trump-Russia Defenses Tumble

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (12/7/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The Trump-Russia collusion story continues to grow and, how about that: There really were Russians involved all along! All the old Trumpian denials have crumbled: Claims of “no contact” is now old news as we are way, way past that. Assurances of “no collusion” is growing threadbare. Now we have Trump team, officials and lawyers promising that “nothing illegal” took place. Collusion Maybe, But Nothing Illegal … yet With the indictment of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, the battle of words has shifted to what happens next. Opinions…


LABOR: Expendable – As The Gig Economy Grows Concerns About Worker Safety Grow

By Samantha Raphelson Here & Now/NPR (12/5/17) The family of a 19-year-old food delivery worker was not eligible for any kind of worker’s compensation last month after their son was struck and killed by a dump truck. Antawani Wright-Davis died in Massachusetts while delivering food as a bicyclist for DoorDash, an app that hires workers as independent contractors. With the rise of the so-called gig economy, workers’ advocates and some state departments of labor are raising concerns about full or part-time employees who are forced to sign agreements that free their employers from keeping them safe. Companies in the gig economy, including…


Time Again To Remember 20 Lessons From The 20th Century On How To Survive In Trump’s America

    (Editor’s Note: Periodically we post Timothy Snyder’s ’20 Lessons’ as a powerful reminder of how to survive the growing fascism of Trump’s America. With the passage of the Republican tax scam for the super wealthy next year we can expect gutting of Medicare, Social Security and other programs Americans depend upon. The need for organizing, action and lighting a fire under the ass of the corporate democrats will be greater than ever. Stay awake. Stay strong. Resist the bastards. – Mark L. Taylor) By Tim Snyder In These Times (10/21/17) This article first appeared as a post on…


Obtuse: How Our Half-Educated Tech Elite Delivered Us Into Such Social & Political Chaos

How could such smart people be so stupid? By John Naughton The Guardian (11/19/17) ne of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose political education I recently chronicled. But he’s not alone. In fact I’d say he is quite representative of many of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech world. We have a burgeoning genre of “OMG, what have we done?” angst coming from former…


Declining Property Values Highlight Need For Industrial Agriculture Reform

  By Kara O’Conner Morning Ad Clips (12/5/17) CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — In November, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue lowered a Kewaunee County landowner’s property taxes because of proximity to a large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). The Department of Revenue reviewed three years of data from home sales in the county, and found that on average, homes within a quarter mile of a large CAFO sold for 13 percent less than their assessed value, and homes between a quarter of a mile and one mile from a large CAFO sold for 8 percent less than their assessed value. The…


Destroying The Press: A Mysterious Company Bought LA Weekly And Just Gutted Its Staff

  By Lydia O’Connor The HuffPost (11/30/17) Free press advocates and LA Weekly staffers are demanding that the mysterious company that bought the news organization and gutted most of its staff reveal its identity. Semanal LLC, the secretive buyer that formed for the sole purpose of purchasing LA Weekly last month, closed on the sale Wednesday and promptly laid off nine of the 13 members of the alternative weekly’s editorial staff, sending shock waves across an industry already rattled by unexpected reductions and closures. On Thursday, the Society of Professional Journalists condemned Semanal’s continued anonymity. “In an era of rampant misinformation and…


SPLC To Homeland Security Committee: Focus on domestic terrorism from the radical right

  Southern Poverty Law Center (11/30/17) SPLC President Richard Cohen testified Thursday [11/30] before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the need to focus on domestic terrorism from the radical right. Cohen delivered the following oral remarks to the committee chaired by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, in addition to written testimony. Thank you, Chairman McCaul, and thank you, Ranking Member Thompson. Members of the committee, it’s an honor to be here today. Charlottesville truly was a wake-up call for our country. It was a reminder that the oldest form of terrorism our country has ever known is still with…


Many Of The Lifelong Wounds Of US Mass Shooting Gun Cult Are Unseen

  When The Scars Of A Mass Shooting Aren’t Left By Bullets By Anna Almendrala & Erin Schumaker The HuffPost (11/22/17) Sherrie Lawson was in a meeting when she heard the gunshots. Because she was on a Navy installation where firearms were heavily restricted, Lawson assumed the loud bangs were the sound of people dropping tables or chairs. Less than a minute later, when more shots rang out, she and her colleagues realized something was wrong. People ran by, shouting about a shooter on the grounds. Lawson joined the crowd and they ran, trying to get away from the sounds of gunfire. Soon…


Here Is The Current List Of The Trump Sex Allegations

  By Lucia Graves & Sam Morris The Guardian (11/29/17) A growing list of powerful men have faced serious consequences for sexual misconduct allegations but the most powerful one of all has faced none. Instead Donald Trump’s official position, as his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders recently clarified in a White House press briefing, is that the 20 women accusing him of assault and harassment are lying. Trump has also suggested some were not attractive enough for him to want to sexually assault. As the conversation around sexual conduct continues to evolve, and new abusers are revealed, here are the cases against the president. … Read…


The Most Important Privacy Case To Come Before The Supreme Court In A Generation

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (11/30/17) If you care about privacy, whether it’s online or on your smartphone, the coming weeks will define the scope of privacy rights for Americans for the next decade or more. Two issues – whether the police can track on our cellphone location 24/7 without a warrant, and the potential to curtail some of the NSA’s most controversial powers to spying on Americans – will be decided by Congress and the US supreme court, and it’s hard to overstate their significance. On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard a landmark cellphone privacy case called United…


Bernie Sanders Takes His “Protecting Working Families” Tour On The Road

By Common Dreams Staff Common Dreams (12/2/17) Bernie Sanders whipped up a crowd of 1,300 people in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, voicing strong opposition to the tax bill that U.S. Senate Republicans passed 10 hours earlier, in a near campaign-style rally, the Dayton Daily News reported. Sanders is on a 3-day, four city “Protecting Working Families” tour with MoveOn.org and the “Not One Penny” coalition. “This legislation goes well beyond taxes,” Sanders wrote in an email that was sent to supporters last Monday. “Mark my words. If passed, the Republicans will then rediscover the ‘deficit crisis,’ and push aggressively for massive cuts in Social Security,…


Dunderhead: Rewiring The Dull, Primitive, Slumbering, Antiscientific Democratic Party Brain With George Lakoff

By Melissa Batchelor Warnke San Francisco Magazine (12/1/17) “Democrats are basically science deniers,” George Lakoff says. “They’re denying the truth discovered in neuroscience and cognitive science.” Harsh words, coming from a lifelong liberal Democrat. But the famed UC Berkeley cognitive linguist thinks his party desperately needs a wake-up call. If they’d listened to him, he says, Donald Trump would not be president. As the election approached, Lakoff was looking forward to retirement. He’d been a professor at Berkeley for the better part of 50 years; he’d published countless peer-reviewed papers; he’d written or coauthored a dozen books. And he’d made a mark…


Russia Monitor: Putin’s Revenge – Tantamount To War

“He’s a man obsessed with TV.” (Sound like someone else we know?) (Editor’s Note: Russia Monitor columnist Dan Peak is taking a few days off. In the meantime, I strongly encourage all readers wondering just how the Trump-Russia mess came to be to watch these two PBS Frontline specials whic help to put things in a meaningful context. _ Mark L. Taylor) FRONTLINE tells the inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy — and the critical backstory – the motive – of why he decided to target an American election. PBS Frontline:…


Trump’s Big Mac Binges & Brutal Screaming Fits Revealed In Former Aides’ New Book

  By Jon Swaine The Guardian (12/3/17) Donald Trump’s preferred order at McDonald’s has been revealed as a waistband-busting meal containing alarming amounts of fat and salt. During campaign stops at the fast food restaurant the president would ask for two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fishes and a chocolate milkshake, according to a insider’s account of his presidential bid. Trump’s order amounts to 2,420 calories, according to McDonald’s nutritional data. US authorities generally advise men to consume about 2,500 calories per day. His chosen meal also contains 112g of fat, which is 172% of Trump’s recommended daily allowance, as well as 3,470mg…


Psychiatrists Warn About Trump’s Deteriorating Mental State

The New York Times (11/30/17) To the Editor: I am the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” We represent a much larger number of concerned mental health professionals who have come forward to warn against the president’s psychological instability and the dangers it poses. We now number in the thousands. We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability — in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behavior, and an attraction to violence as a means…


Going From Pump To Plug: How Much Money Can Electric Vehicles Save Drivers?

    By Union of Concerned Scientists EcoWatch (12/1/17) What would you do with an extra $770 a year? Buy a new laptop? Pay off debt? The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed how much money many drivers could save by switching from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle. We analyzed the cost of refueling electric and gasoline vehicles in each of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. In every city, there is a rate plan that would save the average EV owner on fuel costs, with a median savings of more than $770 per year. EVs are becoming more affordable to purchase,…


ACTION ALERT: GOP Senator Heller Has Stage 4 Cancer Victim Booted From Town Hall For Having The Temerity To Ask About Health Care

She had been warned to keep quiet by Heller’s “goons” before the town hall began. By Tom Boggioni The Raw Story (12/3/17) Republican Senator Dean Heller (NV) had his security officials remove a stage 4 cancer victim from a town hall after she tried to question him about the future of the Affordable Care Act. In video posted to Twitter by Battle Born Progress, Laura Packard can be seen addressing the GOP senator about the implications of the Senate’s tax plan on healthcare only to have two men accost her and remove her from the room. Writing on Twitter, Packard said…


Support Great Journalism & Get A Copy Of ‘All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception & The Spirit Of I.F. Stone’

  By Janine Jackson, Jim Naureckas & Deborah Thomas Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (12/2/17) FAIR has kept fundraising at bay with only occasional pleas for help this year. Now the bank account is low and showing serious signs of stress. So FAIR is now officially launching its year-end fundraising campaign with a much-needed $50,000 goal. It’s been a tough year of beating back supposed “news” that distracts from the concrete concerns in our lives. With healthcare and Social Security under attack, EPA rules purged, voting rights eliminated, these real news stories, and more, need telling. FAIR breaks it down in our…


Brutal Slave Trade Sweeps Up Migrants In North Africa

  On Point/WBUR (11/29/17) Slaves on the auction block in 2017 in North Africa. We’re joined by CNN reporters who helped expose it in Libya, and a New Yorker writer who’s also chronicled migrant exploitation. Guests: Nima Elbagir, senior international correspondent for CNN. (@NimaCNN) Raja Razek, CNN journalist. (@rajarazek) Ben Taub, staff writer for the New Yorker. (@BenTaub91) Link to 47-Minute Audio and 6+-Minute Video ***** People For Sale: Where Lives Are Auctioned Off For $400 CNN “‘Eight hundred,’ says the auctioneer. ‘900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …’ Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800. Not a used…


If Trump Wants Nuclear War, Virtually No One Can Stop Him

By Dennis Jett The Conversation (11/21/17) The general in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, John Hyten, recently said he would resist carrying out an illegal order from the president to use those weapons. His comments echoed the ones made a few days earlier by one of his predecessors, retired Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Nov. 14, Kehler asserted that nuclear operations officers would refuse to implement an unlawful order. While the generals are no doubt military men of integrity, my four decades of experience as a diplomat and scholar of American foreign policy suggest there is…


“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” Is Essential For Understanding Trump & Our Times

    By Andrew Spitznas Patheos (10/1/17) Like a bulging medical file for a chronically hospitalized ICU patient, every week sees new additions to the folders of evidence for Donald Trump’s diseased mind and his mental unfitness for the presidency.  This past week, in the “History of Present Illness” section, it was his lack of empathy and blame shifting for the abominable response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.  For “Past Medical History,” it was the unearthed recording of a conversation with trashmaster Howard Stern, wherein Trump appallingly described his neglect and disgust towards an elderly man bleeding on Mar-A-Lago’s floor.  (Just as…


Listen Up, Folks: Pussy Riot’s Warning About Donald Trump For The U.S. Resistance

The Last Word/MSNBC (11/7/17) Nadya Tolokonnikova from the Russian punk music and protest group Pussy Riot joins MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the similarities and differences between President Trump and Vladimir Putin and to share her advice for the American resistance. [The courageous Tolokonnikova was one of two band members that was imprisoned for two years for protesting Putin’s totalitarian rule.] Link to 8+-Minute Video


Russia Monitor: The Winds Are Shifting Across Trumpenstan

  “Remember, we have elections coming up next year. The uniform view of US intelligence is unambiguous, and if you don’t view it as an existential threat then you’re willing, I think, to sacrifice democracy.” – Steven Harper, Moyers & Company By Dan Peaks The Commoner Call (12/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The good news – virtually every Trump-Russia collusion poll you can find reports two-thirds of Americans believe this is serious and want a full investigation. If we assume a good part of the remaining one-third are Trump voters who still give Trump overwhelming support, who else might see democracy-at-risk…


The Humane & Affordable Luxury Of Socialized Medicine

  By Megan Day Jacobin Magazine The standard case for a single-payer health insurance system is pretty well known. Anyone can get care without courting financial ruin. Monumental personal decisions, like when to have a child or whether to leave or take a job, no longer hinge on the whims of an employer or the dysfunctions of the private insurance market. Surprise hospital bills, endless phone calls with insurance companies, juggling premiums, copays, and deductibles — all will be things of the past. The case against single-payer often boils down to a single word: rationing. When critics peddle scare stories about Canadian or…


Journalist Explains How Panama Papers Opened Up The World’s Illicit Money Networks

  Fresh Air/NPR (11/20/17) Reporter Jake Bernstein helped break the story of the Panama Papers, the leaked documents that detail the offshore tax havens of the super rich. His new book is Secrecy World. TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Before Donald Trump was elected president, some of his business partners on Trump-branded hotels and condos and the Miss Universe pageant were oligarchs from Russia and former Soviet bloc countries who kept a lot of their money hidden in the secret world of shell companies. Those business partnerships are the subject of the final chapter of my…


Think It Can’t Happen Here? It Already Did On February 20, 1939

American Nazis at Madison Square Garden rally in 1939.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/30/17) Throughout the 1930’s and right up to the outbreak of war in Europe there was a vigorous American Nazi Bund movement that was especially active in upper Midwest states, like Wisconsin. In February of 1939 20,000 American Nazis gathered in New York City’s Madison Square garden for a rally that no doubt warmed the olive pit-sized heart of Adolf Hitler. The event was staged with all the theatrical pomp and dramatic ceremony of  a Munich rally. Take a few minutes to watch…